Friday, 26 April 2013

SPARROWHAWK, CETTIS WARBLER AND WILLOW WARBLER

Have you ever had one of them days, you know bit like the weather....one minute everything is great not a care in the world and then in a heartbeat...BOOOM....everything goes wrong...well I had one of them days. Chelsea scrape through their first round of their semi-final, weather looked grey but I was going to what I call the REEDBED, an undisclosed but known site, I should explain no-one goes to this site as "there's never anything there", tut-tut..there loss, my gain. It's is a hard site to spot stuff yet alone photograph stuff, when something appears it's often slightly obscured by a branch/reed stem or just ends up lurking at the base of the reeds "un-sighted", but to me the more I go the better my luck I very rarely see anyone, often the only person I'll see is the farmer who turned a part of his land (with the help to Natural England) it a truly great and under watched sight. Look at this for a species list for the day: Little Owl, Kestrel, Sparrowhawk, Buzzard, Mistle Thrush, Song Thrush, House Sparrow,Blue Tit,Great Tit, Long Tail tit, Willow Tit!!!,Goldcrest,Reed Warbler, Sedge Warbler,Chiff-Chaff,Cettis Warbler,Blackcap,Wren,Common Whitethroat, Lesser Whitethroat,Greenfinch,Bullfinch,Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Water Rail, Grey Heron, Common Tern, Swallow,House Martin,Sand Martin and some wildfowl including Tufted Duck and Mallard....not much to see hey!? Missing as they're yet to turn for spring Cuckoo/Grasshopper Warbler and Swifts and Hobbies.
There is plenty of warblers on site, the Cettis Warbler being the most vocal and at times (if you're quick enough) quite showy, sadly this photo represents how hard it can be to get a clear shot of anything here, a bit gutted but not bad given the species reputation as a noisy skulker. Shortly after taking this image my day got worse, a left my camera perched (stupidly) on a gate post so I could blow my nose during a heavy (but brief) down-pour only to watch a 500mm prime lens and camera go crashing to the floor...ooops! BUT weirdly (I've seen this happen so many times) the only damage done was to my 1.4 teleconverter....good to know what the inside of a teleconverter looks like,not! But I had a spare converter at home so no "real" loss, so far UP's-loads of birds, DOWNS-smashed teleconverter...one all.
The weather and skies clear and from behind my hiding post I spot a Sparrowhawk land in a tree, loads of vegetation between me and the bird so I sit tight and not move, I opt to wait and see what it did, not much as it turned out, a bit of preening and it was off into the blue skies..back to me...gutted, but it turns back round and glides past me....I think it knew I was there and it wouldn't be the last time I saw it either, so below is the sequence of the birding turning around for a "glide-past".



So great bird and the lens appears to be fine, tough ol'bertha lives!!! that makes it 4-2 in the ups and down stakes, the crafty cockney ducking and diving....
I walk back to the boardwalk/reedbed as I fancy a go on some Willow Warblers that was on the...willow trees, the obvious bird would be the chugging Reed Warblers but it was windy so didn't want to waste time hoping they would sit on the reed stems in the blustry conditions if I did the "DOWNS" would get one back, sadly they did get one back...I was standing on the boardwalk and within feet of me the above sprawk glides past me, very slowly before pulling it's wings back and dives off at one heck of burst of speed similar to that of the Millenium Falcon going into hyper-space, boy it was quick...yet apart from flushing loads of Wood pigeons I didn't see it with much, it was at this point I heard the Water Rail, squealing away. Sadly despite the Willow Warblers being very vocal I couldn't get a clean shot so it looks like the "DOWNS" have drawn level..still if the weather holds I'll be back to the site of "were nothing of interest ever shows" or as I'm going to call it for the summer...THE REEDBED.  I shall hopefully blog a few more posts from this spot it looks a promising site.
A couple of not so brilliant Willow Warbler images, the fly in one of the image sums of your average day "buzzing around, not a care int the world, sun is shining, minding my own business and then you get predated..bugger it!"


7 comments:

  1. A superb day by all accounts mate, love the Sprawk images......welcome back!

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  2. Cheers mate, well done on the potw.

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  3. The final score may have been a draw Douglas but the end result that matters is that you've managed to capture a fantastic set of images from a place where there's nothing to see. A superb outcome from a hard fought match, I'd say!

    It's a shame poor old TC had to be substituted half way through the game, I hope he makes a good recovery for later in the season!

    Can't wait for the replay...[;o)

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    1. Cheers, I too am lookinf forward to the second leg, sadly the tc is beyond repair and is retired boo-hoo.

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  4. Great set Doug.
    I've a local lake that local birders say there's nothing there lol

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    1. I begining to wonder if we know the same birders Keith lol.

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  5. Just came across this Douglas ..... you recount some great stories !

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